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Sunshine State
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Sunshine State


Rising literary star and Los Angeles Times First Fiction Award finalist Sarah Gerard uses her experiences growing up along Florida’s gulf coast to illuminate the struggles of modern human survival—physical, emotional, environmental—through a collection of essays exploring intimacy, addiction, obsession, religion, homelessness, and incarceration. 

With the personal insight of The Empathy Exams, the societal exposal of Nickel and Dimed, and the stylistic innovation and intensity of her own break-out debut novel Binary Star, Sarah Gerard’s Sunshine State uses the intimately personal to unearth the deep reservoirs of humanity buried in the corners of our world often hardest to face. 

In the collection’s title essay, Gerard volunteers at the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary, a world renowned bird refuge. There she meets its founder, who once modeled with a pelican on his arm for a Dewar’s Scotch campaign but has since declined into a pit of fraud and madness. He becomes our embezzling protagonist whose tales about the birds he “rescues” never quite add up. Gerard’s personal stories are no less eerie or poignant: An essay that begins as a look at Gerard’s first relationship becomes a heart-wrenching exploration of acquaintance rape and consent. An account of intimate female friendship pivots midway through, morphing into a meditation on jealousy and class.

Sunshine State offers a unique look at Florida, a state whose economically and environmentally imperiled culture serves as a lens through which we can examine some of the most pressing issues haunting our nation.

Title:Sunshine State
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:384 pages
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    Sunshine State Reviews

  • Rebecca Foster
    Apr 19, 2017

    Gerard reflects on her growing-up years in Florida and explores the history of several organizations that have captured her imagination. Often, she moves from the personal to the general, first explai...

  • Rachel Len
    May 28, 2017

    The first essay in this collection blew me away. I'm still reeling from its sharpness and hungry to reread it. From there the essays can be a mixed bag. Some are very strong, and others less so. Overa...

  • Lolly K Dandeneau
    Mar 04, 2017 my blog “Every day. Bob’s parent’s sued people- the city, other motorists, etc.- for a living.”Essays, memoir, environmental… all these things make u...

  • Matt
    Mar 26, 2017

    I wanted badly to like this book. I did not.Part of the problem is that it was described as a new take on the state of Florida. The writing of the first essay, BFF, was engaging and sharp, and the pro...

  • Amy Bernhard
    Apr 28, 2017

    I read this book because I'm also writing about place. I think it's incredibly challenging to write a researched piece while sustaining a clear, engaging personal narrative. Gerard struggles here. Som...

  • Vincent Scarpa
    Apr 11, 2017

    I had the great privilege to read this book months ago, but seeing as it's pub day and Sunshine State is officially out in the world, I'm bumping this up. I adored Sarah's debut novel Binary Star with...

  • Christopher Alonso
    Feb 25, 2017

    I wrote a review of this book for the Miami Rail. You can read it here for free:

  • Bailey
    Jun 06, 2017

    Because these are essays I didn't expect a lengthy biblio in the back - I'm always surprised when books "end early" because of it. This collection is vivid, insightful, and thought-provoking, working ...

  • Danae
    May 28, 2017

    I really enjoyed three of the essays in this book: BFF, Going Diamond and Rabbit because they felt the most authentic and personal. The other essays just didn't catch my attention because they read mo...

  • Patty Cottrell
    Nov 26, 2016

    An amazing book. ...